What a weekend of college hoops
It started on Saturday when Iowa State matched up with Baylor in a Big 12 showdown. For the passed few years, conference play for the Lady Bears has been almost guaranteed success, as they have lost to only one program in the last five seasons…Iowa State.
The key matchup to watch was the offense of Cyclone superstar Ashley Joens against Baylor’s DiDi Richards, one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. Richards had three steals in the game and kept Joens scoreless from beyond the arc, but the junior first team player was too much to handle. Joens scored 27 points and added 12 boards to lead Iowa State to a 75-71 victory over #6 Baylor.
The upsets rolled right over into Sunday, when Colorado shocked the nation by taking down #1 Stanford in overtime. Despite going into the game 5-6, the Buffaloes had motivation for this matchup stemming back to last season. Stanford won both games in 2020 in thrilling fashion, with a buzzer beating layup to force overtime in game one where the Cardinal would eventually go on to win followed by a buzzer-beating triple in their second contest. Talk about heartbreak.
But now it was Colorado’s turn, and with 23 seconds left Jaylyn Sherrod made a layup to force overtime. The Buffaloes dominated the extra period and finally knocked off not just Stanford, but the #1 team in the country.
A pair of ranked ACC schools took care of business in dominant fashion with Louisville and Syracuse both posting 25+ point victories.
After just getting into the top 25 last week, Washington State came storming back to send their game against #8 UCLA into overtime. Neither team could find much offense until the extra 5 minutes, when the Bruins put up 15 to win the game.
In the SEC, Texas A&M came out of the gate hot following their first loss of the season, and allowed only 3 first quarter points to #14 Mississippi State. The Aggies never looked back, winning in a blowout by 28. Meanwhile #12 Kentucky took down Vanderbilt who promptly cancelled their season.
The Commodores dealt with multiple game cancellations, opt-outs, and injuries that ultimately led to a collective desire to put no one else’s health at risk and bow out of the 2021 season, becoming the first SEC school to do so.
The conferences premier team South Carolina took on Arkansas in a game that looked close until it wasn’t. Aliyah Boston was a force inside on both ends, scoring 26 points with 16 rebounds and 6 blocks on defense.
Before the game, alumna A’ja Wilson spoke in front of the newly erected statue of her outside of Colonial Life Arena, delivering a powerful speech on Martin Luther King Day, no less.
There are shockingly few statues of women basketball figures across the country, but the all-time leading gamecock has deservedly joined that elite group.